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Fanfic Recs / Harry Potter: For Want of a Nail

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Proof that the remaining 10% is worth Neville playing for England in the National Quidditch Tournament for here.

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Completed fics

The author considers it finished.

    Complete Fics 

Of A Linear Circle - Part I by flamethrower (Now part of the series)

  • Recommended by: Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: In September of 1971, Severus Snape finds a forgotten portrait of the Slytherin family in a dark corner of the Slytherin Common Room. At the time, he has no idea that talking portrait will affect the rest of his life.
  • Comments: I can not recommend this fic highly enough. It is full of wit, sarcasm, and politics, with lots of yelling about educational standards by a portrait who lived with the Founders. Warning though: this series has at least five full installments, plus a few side stories.

Fate Set Right by mltrefry

  • Recommended by: Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: An accident with the time turner sends Hermione back to the Marauders' era, where she meets the Marauders, Lily, and Snape. Romance ensues. Hermione and Snape's daughter, Aurora, is the same age as Ginny and gets involved in the Second War against Voldemort. The chapters alternate irregularly between Hermione's story and Aurora's story, and the main themes are romance and the Wars against Voldemort.
  • Pairing: Severus Snape/Hermione Granger
  • Comments: This is a rare time-travel story in that Hermione does not immediately set out to create time paradoxes. In fact, avoiding time paradoxes is a concern for her.

3 Slytherin Marauders by severusphoenix

  • Recommended by: feral
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: After realizing how they're treating Harry and fleeing an abusive Vernon, Petunia sends Harry and Dudley into the care of her childhood acquaintance and only contact in the wizarding world-—Severus Snape.

All Roads Lead to Rome by Alemantele

  • Recommended by: patrckred, Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: In the end, it didn't really matter what road he took. Tom Riddle's destiny was, is and will always be in the form of Lord Voldemort.
  • Notes: Also recommended on the Harry Potter Oneshots page.

Arc of Sacrifices by Lightning on the Wave

  • Recommended by: Lost Lenore
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A seven-part series which is a long read, but worth it. An AU in which Harry has a twin, Connor, who is the Boy Who Lived. Lily and Dumbledore train Harry from an early age to always protect Connor, but then Harry is sorted into Slytherin...
  • Pairings: Mainly Harry/Draco later on. (Warning: smut from the sixth book onwards.) There are other pairings, but they do not get nearly as much time in the limelight. The other one of note is Connor/ Parvati.
  • Comments: Better than canon, in my opinion; the characters undergo a lot more development. It makes minor characters from canon into characters that I actually care about. Plus, it's the only fic that has made me cry.

The Best Revenge by Arsinoe de Blassenville

  • Recommended by: Fuzzy Boots, Mazz, Eversor, Folly Molly
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Snape visits Minerva while she's making out letters to the students and happens to snare Harry's. Upon finding that Harry's address is a cupboard, he sets out to determine what's gone wrong. He decides that the best revenge he can have on James Potter is to help raise his son in a proper way.
  • Comments: It's a generic premise, but well executed. Snape is mildly amoral in how exactly he deals with Harry's situation, but avoids crossing the line too severely. Both the Wizarding and Muggleborn cultures receive some jabs, including an interesting commentary on how exactly Hermione's know-it-all personality would have distinctly rubbed the Wizarding community the wrong way. Most interesting for me, it features a Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy who somehow manage to be blood purists and yet very likeable in their own way.

A Better Man by Valandar

  • Recommended by: whofan94
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: What if Vernon Dursley was actually a decent human being and treated Harry as if he was his own son? How different would his life be?

Between Ruin and Salvation by Kihin Ranno

  • Recommended by: Lost Lenore
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: What would've happened if Harry had followed Sirius through the veil at the Department of Mysteries? A Darker and Edgier version of what might have been.
  • Comments: The main pairing was a little too out-there for my liking, but that was all. The author does a very realistic job at everything else, including fleshing out a completely plausible AU. It's a lot bleaker than canon, with several major character dying or going insane. The FanFiction.Net version, posted above, is free of smut but has sexual references. Definitely interesting and thought-provoking.

Black Bond by CentaurPrincess

  • Recommended by: Nerdman3000
  • Status: Complete, sequel is dead (last updated August 2017)
  • Synopsis: An eight-year-old Harry Potter comes across Acquila Black, a girl at his school, only to realize that he shares a strange connection with her. And when Sirius Blacks escapes Azkaban in their first year at Hogwarts, how will he help his Godson and daughter in defeating the darkest wizard of all times?
  • Notes: Has a sequel: Black Bond II.
  • Comments: Currently one of the longest Harry Potter fanfics on, Black Bond is an interesting fic in that it's not afraid to take old weak ideas and rewrite those ideas to work, creating new and interesting original scenarios not commonly seen in other fics. While it does feature an OC, who is a daughter of Sirius Black, I can note that she is from my opinion one of the more competently written Harry Potter OC's that I've read, who like many of the characters in the fic, goes through a lot of enjoyable character development, becoming a great character of her own by the end. The first part of the story, recently completed is over a million words, and time wise it has only finished year Three. Starting very similar to canon minus the addition of Sirius's daughter and the effects of her character's existence, it soon goes completely AU quickly, with Sirius escaping Azkaban in Harry's first year, and Years Two and Three becoming radically different as a result, with Year Three being especially original compared to canon.
    • If I had one real complaint, it is that I felt it is the author's choice to make Acquila's mom an OC sister of Marlene McKinnon. While the mother, who is dead throughout all of the fic minus the prologue, isn't by any stretch of the imagination poorly written in the few scenes we get with her, I personally felt her to be unnecessary, as she could have easily been Marlene herself and it wouldn't have made a difference.
    • Despite that though, Black Bond is a good and enjoyable long read that is getting even better as it goes on.

Blindness byAngelaStarCat. Can be read [1].

  • Recommended by: filipe
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: The premise of the fic is that when Voldemort attacks Harry at Godric's Hollow he's blinded by the Killing Curse, causing a cascade effect that changes everything.

Blood Magic by GatewayGirl

boy with a scar by dirgewithoutmusic

  • Recommended by: thebadplace
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A series of "what if" rewrites of Harry Potter, books 1-7.
  • Tags: Alternate Universe- Canon Divergence, What-ifs

Bright Star by Carrie Swinton

  • Recommended by: Chaosjunction, Eversor
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Lacerta Malfoy, the twin sister of Draco Malfoy, has been raised with the impeccable manners that denote her pureblood heritage, and has always expected to be sorted into Slytherin when she started Hogwarts. When she gets into Gryffindor instead, her whole life takes a different route...
  • Notes: Has two sequels, Bound By Garlands Of Her Own (Complete) and Admonitions to the Winds and Stars (Ongoing).
  • Comments: I know that this is one of the most cliche plots in Harry Potter fanfiction: daughter of Death Eater gets Sorted into Gryffindor and befriends Golden Trio. However Bright Star separates itself from the pack by virtue of being not only well written, but of being poignantly emotional at the oddest of times in a way that isn't entirely thoroughly cheap. Lacie's relationship with Hermione, especially, is rather interesting for this type of fanfiction.
    • Seconded extremely hard. We are told a little more about Hermione's history, which is rather interesting since Rowling never actually investigated the bond between Hermione and her parents and her non-magical peers. Lacie is a really nice OC, and that's coming from someone who doesn't like OCs. The quotes at the front of each 'real' chapter are well-chosen and manage to even make me like them. The English is sometimes a little broken, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with some extra beta'ing, and a sometimes hard to read sentence would be allowed in this good a fic, even by this nitpicker.

A Changed Destiny by 1CharmedPhoenix

  • Recommended by: MandibleBones, Nerdman3000
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Thanks to a twist of fate, Ginny Weasley is sorted into Slytherin due to Tom Riddle's diary's influence on her. Given the opportunity, she becomes a Death Eater - and a spy for Dumbledore.
  • Notes: A rewrite by the author also exists and is complete. It fixes a lot of the flaws with the original, and is much darker, more realistic, and has a better characterization of Ginny. Out of the two, I'd say the rewrite surpasses the original.
  • Comments: Interesting exploration of the concept, with realistic consequences. Continues well past the end of the war. Ginny may seem a little high-powered at first glance, but compare her to canon Severus Snape and suddenly not so much. The author is pretty good about explanations for most of the divergences from canon, eventually.

The Changeling by Annerb

  • Recommended by: Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Ginny is sorted into Slytherin. It takes her seven years to figure out why.
  • Pairing: Harry Potter/Ginny Weasley

Dagger and Rose by Perspicacity

  • Recommended by: Hiraku Joutei
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: What if Dumbledore took Harry as his apprentice, after hearing the second prophecy? When Harry takes him up on the offer, he is cast into a world far darker and much more dangerous than he could imagine. With all of the lies and betrayal, can Harry see through to the light to find his one true love? Or will it suck him up, turning him into the very thing he has fought so hard against?
  • Comments: Set in the Fourth Year. One of the best fics I have read (and I've read hundreds), dark and suspenseful, with a hint of hope. Masterfully written by an author with professional experience, this story manages to avoid the pitfalls of many other For Want of a nail fics. I can also guarantee that the ending will have you pulling out you hair. This story is complete.
    • The story does have some issues with Harry getting special magic with the Runes, some character are quite derailed, with the most blatant maybe being Ron. The new ultra secret and powerful secret organization and the shift of focus to it instead of Voldemort is also potentially annoying. Aside from that, the fic is quite a bit darker than canon.

Dangerous and Deadly Lord Voldemort by Kevin3

  • Recommended by: Kazeto, Robinton
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A tale of illusion and deception - what better bedtime story could a magician tell his son than when he managed to pull one over on the entire wizarding world?
  • Notes: Has a sequel, Dangerous and Deadly: Clash for the Stone (Complete).
  • Comments: Let's see... Voldemort was a conjurer's trick, who couldn't cast a single AK (but could fake one). His real goal? Kill off as many of his followers as possible, while protecting the Wizarding World. He's actually fairly successful.

Defending Sirius Black

  • Recommended by:Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: When Harry Potter is left at Privet Drive Vernon Dursley attempts to free Sirius Black from Azkaban so that the Dursleys don't have to raise Harry.

A Different Fate by Lordhellabore

  • Recommended by: fatrat, Fenro, Powerupz 77
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: JKR portrays Harry as completely unaffected by the Death Curse cast at him. But how would things have gone if it had been different? Drabble series, five drabbles per chapter.
  • Comments: A sweet, sensitively written portrayal of Harry given severe learning difficulty by Voldemort's curse. Also features a much nicer version of Aunt Petunia, Protective Dudley and Hero Neville.

Disillusion, by Hermione Granger by esama

  • Recommended by: lalalei2001
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Harry Potter went down in history as the man who destroyed the magical world. He received a Nobel Prize for it. AU where Harry breaks the masquerade, introducing magic to muggles and technology to wizards until they're essentially the same thing—just as planned.

the dogfather au by hollimichele

  • Recommended by: fruitstripegum
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: An AU in which Harry is put up for adoption the day the Dursleys find him on the doorstep, ends up Happily Adopted and takes in a dog who turns out to be his godfather.

Enveloped in the Darkness by Brigade

  • Recommended by: feral, Baron Praxis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Dark Fic. Harry was left at an orphanage after his parents met their demise. There, he finds nothing but suffering until he rejoins the Wizarding World. Dumbledore may hope for Harry to be a kind soul, but he's made mistakes. And what he gets is a future Death Eater. Harry is Dark, Harry is ruthless, and he is siding with Voldemort.
  • Notes: Has a sequel, Embraced by the Darkness (ongoing).

Eyes of Avada Green by Tranquil_Tevine

  • Recommended by: Echo Of Starlight
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: There is only so much a person can take. For Harry, he's reached his breaking point. Who will survive the fallout?
  • Comments: The only good 'Dumbledore Bashing' fic I've seen. Though Harry could be out of character depending on how you look at it and he might be a bit overpowered, but it's a fun read. Also, it may be ongoing, but there are already 85 chapters.

Firepower by Lucy Blue

  • Recommended by: Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Harry Potter is a Squib and doesn't attend Hogwarts. He manages to by hauled into Death Eater plans anyway, and meets Remus and Sirius, and fights Death Eaters with improvised flamethrowers.

First Place Sinner by Daystar Clarion

  • Recommended by: FatRat
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: In which Harry has Petunia's love, though it makes him bleed.
  • Notes: Also recommended on the Harry Potter Oneshots page.
  • Comments: A great Horror story but not for the faint of heart.

Freaks Aren't Allowed by lastcrazyhorn

  • Recommended by: orpheus-izanagi
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: After nearly freezing to death outside his relatives' home, little Harry is rescued by first a spirit and then a snarky git! The adventure isn't over yet though, as Snape soon realizes that his charge's problems aren't limited to just frostbite.
  • Comments: This story is excellent for fluff: between the interactions of child!Harry and Snape, this manages to get just the right amount of fluff. It's tempered with a separate Dumbledore subplot, so if there's too much fluff for you, you can always look at that.

Harriet Potter and the Minister of Magic by slytherin-nette

  • Recommended by: Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: That fateful night in Godric's Hollow, something inside James Potter had changed forever. Becoming the youngest Minister of Magic ever to be appointed, he became obsessed with finding the Dark Lord and avenging the death of his wife. Unfortunately, his pursuits are about to lead him straight back to the daughter he's neglected for 14 years. Fem!Harry.
  • Pairing: Fem!Harry/Draco

Harry Potter and the Deus Ex Machina by Karmic Acumen

  • Recommended by: Newt, Kazeto, Robinton
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: It was a normal day, until newly turned 8 year-old Harry Potter decided to make a wish upon the dog star (even though he'd almost never actually seen it) and set off something in the Unlabeled Room in the Department of Mysteries. Turns out Dumbledore was wrong. Again. It wasn't love that the Unspeakables were studying down there.
  • Comments: This fic focuses more on the Black Family than Harry, and contains politics, clever uses of magic, time travel and Regulus Black being awesome.

Harry Potter and the Enemy Within by Theowyn of HPG

  • Recommended by: Almagest, Eversor
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: In his sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry's mental link to Voldemort is stronger than ever. Can Snape teach him to control the nightmarish visions? And is their connection the key to ending Voldemort's reign?
  • Notes: Has a sequel, Harry Potter and the Chained Souls (complete).

The King's Indian attack by Nectere

  • Recommended by: Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Aurora Sinistra and Severus Snape conspirer to have Harry and Hermione sort into Slytherin, and the two of them become friends with Draco and Daphne Greengrass. Includes PO Vs from the adults as well as the students, and the adults handling things. Contary to the pairing tags, the story does not actually include eleven-year-olds in romantic relationships.

Harry Potter and the Lack of Lamb Sauce by imagitory

  • Recommended by: Sasha Honeypalm, Bucco Babe
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: It's Harry's sixth year, and there's a new Potions professor at Hogwarts. No, not Slughorn... Gordon Ramsay. While Ramsay plays a significant role, especially in the early chapters, the story primarily focuses on the students who were brought together as a result of his Hogwarts cooking competition. A Lower-Deck Episode, showing the effects of the events of books six and seven on a range of minor or original characters, as well as an Alternate Universe.
  • Comments: The characterization is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. The author makes you sympathize with all the students, even the ones you hated in canon. The alternate timeline is also thoroughly and believably developed.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky

  • Recommended by: Darkloid_Blues, Looney Toons, Ronfar, Baughn, gg, Dor, jaimeastorga2000, White Hat, Seraviel, Hydro Globus, iamdatroper, Sheaman 3773, The Uncredible Hallq, johnhancookie, pisoprano, Kogut, Ghost Lad, feral, Michael Katsuro, Abrakadinosaur, KaylaMoira, JET 73 L, The Giant Rock, Dame-Amaryllis, Robinton, Pastykake, Baron Praxis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Petunia married a man other than Vernon Dursley...a scientist. The Harry Potter they raise is bright, bookish, rational, and frustrating beyond all belief to the wizarding world. He starts pointing out the logical fallacies from day one, and never really stops.
  • Comments: Honestly, I never stopped laughing reading this story. There's one OC, Petunia's husband, but he's only there for the plot, and his back-and-forths with Harry and everyone else while they talk about magic range from amusing to hysterical. It gets particularly good when Harry actually goes to Diagon Alley for the first time, as that's when the lampshading really starts. Not very far along yet, but updated regularly.
    • Looney Toons: Strongly seconded. Chapter five is hilarious. Apparently growing up in a supportive family environment allows Harry to develop some of the troublemaker traits he inherited from James Potter.
    • Picklejar: Note that this is not actually a For Want Of A Nail-fic, as the story disclaims in its first chapter:
      This is not a strict single-point-of-departure fic - there exists a primary point of departure, at some point in the past, but also other alterations. The best term I've heard for this fic is "parallel universe".
    • It stops being a parody quite quickly, and goes into full-blown Marty Stu of the worst proportions at about the time Potter "Learns to Lose". Avoid it, it stops being funny and starts being insufferable very quickly.
      • YMMV on the above. Early on, as Harry first gets into the story, yes, he comes across as Marty Stu. But over time, he does make some mistakes, some with real consequences. If you find yourself feeling like this, check your progress. If you're less then half way, consider continuing a bit. Ironically, the very part that the above comment mentions marks a turning point in the story, and the Marty Stu elements start to plummet shortly thereafter.
      • By the end, it starts to seem like the middle-aged author's critique of his younger self. Eliezer has stated that the very precocious Harry's knowledge base and intellect are approximately his own at age twenty; like any intelligent person in their mid-thirties, he clearly sees a lot of flaws in the person he was at that age. What makes it hard to recognize is that many of Harry's mistakes take a long time to become apparent as such.
    • Tentatively supported by Chrispang: There's a lot of bright ideas, and a lot of the science is worth googling (if at many times inacuurate when inserted). As a loyal SF fan and "science"/logic minded troper, the way it works in elements of genuine science and rationale is Awesome. What fails, however, is everything else. :( Character Development doesn't really happen, Hermione dies, but is brought back to life in the end. The Rational!Harry acts remarkably passively for all his grand talk of conquering science and is rather delusional. Whatever (super)powers he does get i.e. the True!Patronus that comes from "rational thinking", the ability to partially transfigure, and/or his "rational methods" are taught to him or come in almost epiphanical fashion. He also practices the ancient method of "Thinkaboutitreallyhardandit'llsolveitself" which, while solving problems, doesn't make for the most exciting reading. However, the fic's biggest problems come from a few... er... deep-rooted biases. Aside from the intellectualism here, anyone not superintelligent (or on the way to becoming so) is practically given zero screen time, the author's brand of bayesian rationality is given equal (or higher) billing than actual science, and Draco and Harry's "Bayesian Conspiracy" uses remarkably little bayesian logic, followed by transhumanism edging it's way in uncomfortably, and the author trying to decide whether to use Superevil!Quirrel or Rational!Harry as a mouthpiece.

Harry Potter and the Power of Paranoia by arekay

  • Recommended by: Unclouded TJ, feral
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: In the summer after Year Four, Harry begins to review the events that lead up to Cedric's Death. This begins to leave him just a bit paranoid about what is going on.
  • Comments: A somewhat amusing look at the way Harry being paranoid might react to events and causes mayhem for all involved. There's no bashing of characters although Harry's initial thoughts are a bit hard to get at first, and are certainly not 100% accurate.

Harry Potter and the Problem of Potions by Wyste

  • Recommended by: SashaHoneypalm
  • Length: 162 chapters
  • Status: complete
  • Synopsis: Harry loves Potions class, and really wishes Professor Snape would like him. Or even loathe him a bit less. Well, there's nothing to do but learn to put up with the man for the sake of his potion skills.
  • Comments: a richly thought-out AU full of humor, emotion, and horror, sometimes all on the same page. Harry becomes friends- or at least frenemies- with some surprising people, without glossing over their complexities and moral failings, or bashing his canon friends. Voldemort is even creepier than in canon, and everyone else is perfectly in character. And many, many more people live through to see the end.

Harry Potter and the Slytherin Selection by DrizzleWizzle

  • Recommended by: Evoluder Viral
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: At Madam Malkin's, Harry Potter introduces himself to Draco Malfoy. Draco offers to help Harry navigate the bizarre, new wizarding world, and Harry accepts. While Harry finds magic to be strange and amazing, there is no class to teach Harry about the complexities of friendship and social life in Slytherin...
  • Notes: This is Year 1. Here are Year 2 (Complete), Year 3 (Complete), Year 4 (Complete), Year 5 (Complete) and Year 6 (Ongoing).
  • Comments: Another Slytherin!Harry fic. Humanizes the Slytherins without making them seem un-Slytherin. And, somehow, it does all this without breaking canon too badly. Read the whole series- the author's just finished Book 4- and be thoroughly impressed.

Honey by Two four twelve

How Xenophilius Lovegood Saved Britain by Arpad Hrunta

  • Recommended by: Unclouded TJ, Mazz, Eversor, feral, Agogobell, Robinton
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A simple letter sent by one Gabrielle Delacour to a depressed Harry in the middle of his 5th year changes everything. Written entirely in letters from one person to another or in a similar format.
  • Notes: Also recommended on the Harry Potter Oneshots page.
  • Comments: It's a brilliant one-shot that tends to not take itself too seriously. Reportedly the best "power the dark lord knows not".

I'll Shoot the Shot, Bang by wandlorean

  • Recommended by: lalalei2001
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Harry travels back in time to shape the future into a happier one, but will he listen to Hermione's warning?
  • Warnings: Dark, Downer Ending

Innocent by MarauderLover7

  • Recommended by: Quinnec, omegaman
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Sirius escapes Azkaban five years early, and subsequently "kidnaps" Harry from the Dursleys. Hiding out at Grimmauld Place, they learn to be a family, all while avoiding a nation-wide manhunt, trying to make allies of old friends, and dealing with the rippling consequences of Sirius's escape.
  • Notes: Has three sequels, Initiate (complete), Identity (complete), Impose (complete), Intensity (complete), and Influence (ongoing).
  • Comments: The best "Sirius escapes Azkaban and raises Harry" story I've read. The writing style is very similar to the books. Though there are some slow spots, the story itself is peppered with enough action, humor, and both heartwarming and heart-wrenching moments to keep a variety of readers entertained. The main plot is of Sirius and Harry becoming a family while dealing with the fallout of Sirius's escape, but also contains a number of fascinating and well-developed subplots that explore the ongoing search for Harry Potter, the life and times of Remus Lupin, the adventures of Mad-Eye Moody and the Auror trainees, the dynamics of the Malfoy household, and a far-too perceptive Severus Snape.

Inside My Mind by sistersgrimmlover

  • Recommended by: Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: It started with a wand. A wand with a brother. And this brother wand, a girl shall wield. And with this girl came War. And with War, came her lover, Plague. Plague lead to his brother Death. And it all ended in Victory. Dark!Fem!Harry.
  • Pairing: Fem!Harry/Tom
  • Notes: Has an ongoing sequel, Masquerade.

insurgere by Silver Pard

  • Recommended by: feral, Komodo Classic, Robinton, Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Hufflepuff is the house of the leftovers, the losers, the forgotten. Well, Tom Riddle thinks, it's time to change that.
  • Notes: Also recommended on the Harry Potter Oneshots page.
  • Comments: Absolutely, chillingly wonderful.

Knowledge is Useful, But Power is Power by DisobedienceWriter

  • Recommended by: Mcnickel, Kogut
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Harry and Hermione are gifted a handwritten book at the beginning of Fourth Year. A book that reveals horrible truths about the world they live in. Prepare for a tougher Harry and a battle focused on the Ministry.
  • Comments: An exploration of the nature of magic in the Harry potter universe, with a good deal of worldbuilding regarding Magical Oaths and artifacts like the Goblet of Fire, and the power of will in regards to magic. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a serious fanfic.

The Lie I've Lived by jbern

  • Recommended by: Unclouded TJ, Looney Toons, Shadow AI, Foo Fighter, boonerunner, Seraviel, Willyolio, Sheaman 3773, Hiraku Joutei, USA Bobcat, johnhancookie, Dethryl, Folly Molly, feral
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Not all of James died that night. Not all of Harry lived. The Triwizard Tournament as it should have been and a hero discovering who he really wants to be.
  • Comments:
    • boonerunner: Harry James Potter combines Harry's raw power and James's experience, but he makes his share of significant mistakes and he has trouble relating to the other kids his age. Well written.
      • Your mileage may vary HEAVILY on this. It is without a doubt well-written but the author is a flagrant basher, who villainizes a few characters just to make some scenes work. That is laziness my friends. You want to know what characters he bashes? Krum and the Weasley Twins of all people. Not the usual victims of villianization but far from acceptable targets.
      • The fic is pure bash heavy nonsensical rage. No one's motivations make sense and the the characters veer so far off from canon they might as well be OC's. It's hard to read stories like this and imagine the writer even liked Harry Potter to begin with.
      • USA Bobcat : As a sidenote, I've always passed this fic by on this page, believing it was a crack fic. When I finally ventured in to read it, I was surprised beyond measure. It is most definitely not a crack fic, though if you only hear bit and pieces and anecdotes from it, especially from the later chapters, it will seem like one.
    • Dethryl: Full disclosure, Jbern is an acquaintance of mine. This one starts out a bit rough, what with the Sorting Hat's vulgarity being more Tourette's Syndrome than any kind of purposeful story element. I very much enjoy the new Tasks, and the characterization of Fleur is refreshing. YMMV, naturally, but EVERY character is worthy of villianization. If you don't think the twins can be mean, it's time to re-read canon. Between turning Ron's teddy bear into a spider and scarring him for life or shoving Montague into the Vanishing Cabinet so he disappears for more than a month (and neither they nor the Trio tell a teacher!), they're not angels. It takes a good author to challenge what you think you know about a character, and I think Jbern has done a wonderful job with this fic.
    • FollyMolly: I love this fic. It stretches belief at times, but the James/Harry merger yields such a great character. Harry gains some much-needed swagger, and James loses some of his arrogance, creating an enjoyably balanced hero.

Long Live The Queen by offside

  • Recommended by: Jack The Riffer, Baron Praxis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: In the days prior to his Underage Magic trial, Harry Potter sends a letter to Queen Elizabeth II in hopes that she might be able to help. What follows are changes not just to Harry's life, but Magical Britain as a whole. AU story that ignores Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows.
  • Comments: While it starts off slow, this fic is an enjoyable read that does a remarkable job of showing what would happen if the non-Magical government of Britan got involved with the Wizarding side. Has a flawed, but sympathetic, portrayal of Dumbledore, although he gets a particularly great "Reason You Suck" Speech down the line. Voldemort getting headshotted by a sniper mid-Killing Curse is my personal favorite scene. -Jack The Riffer

Luna's Hubby by Meteoricshipyards

  • Recommended by: Fuzzy Boots, Unclouded TJ, Don Julio, Mazz, Puidwen, Robinton
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: 7-year-old Luna Lovegood sees how happy her parents are in their marriage and decides that she wants the same. Having heard from Ginny Weasley that Harry Potter is a good catch, she borrows their family broom and kidnaps him, refusing to tell her parents where she found him. After realizing the abusive environment Harry came from, Selene and Xenophilus adopt Harry into their home, figuring that they can dissuade Luna from the marriage plot later.
  • Comments: A very sweet and crazy fic. It's unabashed Harry/Luna shipping and it works spectacularly. The story ends at a slightly changed Triwizard Tournament where Harry's animagus form, a rhinoceros, accidentally tramples Voldemort and Wormtail during a massive Auror raid on the graveyard.
    • This story began as one of The Blot's Odd Ideas (see below for details) but grew from there. Considerably Lighter and Softer than its source material, but in a good way.

A Marauder's Plan by CatsAreCool

  • Recommended by: Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Diverge after Prisoner of Azkaban. Sirius decides to stay in England after escaping Hogwarts and makes protecting Harry his priority.

The Meaning of Mistletoe by Endrina

  • Recommended by: Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis:“Just… tell me. Tell me what is going on, Snape.”
What was going on was that Severus Snape had no trouble tracking down one Petunia Evans, now Dursley, to a little town in Surrey where he saw how exactly she was treating her nephew. Which somehow led to last night and Severus knocking on Lupin’s door with a toddler half-asleep in his arms.
  • Pairing: Remus Lupin/Severus Snape
  • Comment: The first in a series of four, all of which are complete.

A Mistaken Sorting by Silver Pard

  • Recommended by: Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: The Dunce Who Lived and his unfortunate brother have finally arrived at Hogwarts. Snape is both manipulative and placing bets. WBWL. Snape POV.
  • Notes: Has a short prequel, Mistaken Identity.

Moratorium by Darkpetal16

  • Recommended by: San Demon Max, Unclouded TJ, Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Harry Potter was never a good little child. Harry Potter learned the hard way early on, that the good only won in stories and fairy tales, and so to adapt, Harry Potter chose not to be such a good little girl anymore. Fem!Gray!Manipulative!Harry
  • Pairing: Fem!Harry/Tom

Muggle Management by Lady Winterlight & Nerdy Kat

  • Recommended by:Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis:In a fic where Harry suffers phyisical abuse, Hermione notices during the first year. The Grangers get guardianship over Harry, and Hermione forms a movement to help abused students at Hogwarts.
  • Comments: first in a series of five, all complete.
Not for Ron fans. Shows the worst of his personality with very little redeeming qualtities. Also, Draco becomes Harry's best friend so if you aren't into Ron bashing and Slytherin-wank, give this a skip.

My Nephew Harry by Lucillia

  • Recommended by: Fuzzy Boots, Unclouded TJ, Baron Praxis
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: After a traffic accident results in Vernon and Petunia being laid up in the hospital, Aunt Marge is forced to take Harry and Dudley into her house. She realizes that Harry is not the delinquent everyone makes him out to be and that Dudley hasn't been raised properly at all. Naturally, the only thing to do is to raise the runt right, as taught by her father, something that her brother Vernon seems to have forgotten, probably due to the poisonous influence of his wife.
  • Notes: Has a sequel, My Nephew Harry 2: The Hogwarts Years (dead).
  • Comments: What makes this fic particularly good is that Marge is depicted in fairly unflattering terms, rigid and unbending, the product of a strict upbringing that flirted with psychological abuse. She's bigoted against other races, thinks that children should be regularly beaten to toughen them up, but she also has a strong moral core and insists on Harry growing up to his full potential even if she hasn't figured out how his "magic" thing works scientifically. Moreover, she definitely seems to be an Unreliable Narrator, particularly as concerns anything involving Vernon's culpability in the abuse.

The Paths Diverge by Vaneria Potter

  • Recommended by: Omeganian
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Because there was NO WAY leaving a toddler on a doorstep in the middle of a winter night could POSSIBLY go wrong...
  • Comments: Harry being brought to someone else instead of the Dursleys or taken right from their doorstep is a common premise. But here, there is a minor twist... Harry simply crawls out of the crib himself. It is also common for Death Eaters to be taken out with guns. This fic uses frying pans instead.

A Promise From Her Boy by PsychoCellist

  • Recommended by: Powerupz 77
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: It did not occur to Harry Potter to wonder why his Snowy Owl Hedwig was so much more affectionate than average. It did not occur to him he would ever need to care. That's why she waited to tell him.
  • Pairing: Slight Harry/Hedwig which soon dissolves. The animal-human bond is greatly expounded upon with very different implications for both creatures. No smut or hormonal teenage boys running loose here, but intimate moments take place.
  • Comments: This fic focuses on the relationship between Harry and Hedwig. The thing is, Hedwig is an animagus. A really cool fic that ends up keeping this AU rather canon. Be prepared to bawl your eyes out though.
    • More Parallel than Alternate,with just a marvelous twist to keep it in the category of he latter. Highly unusual and lovely story from the perspective of one of the most overlooked character-pets in fantasy.

Promises Unbroken by Robin4

  • Recommended by: Wookiee, Lost Lenore, DragonRidingSorceress, johnhancookie, Dethryl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A look at Harry's first year at Hogwarts and the political climate outside the school in an AU where Sirius was the Potters' secret-keeper. Apparently dying rather than betray his friends, Lily and James are alive, Harry has parents, Voldemort is still at large, and the first war is still raging outside the castle walls.
  • Notes: Has two sequels, Promises Remembered and Promises Defended, as well as a prequel, Promises Honored, all complete.
  • Comments: The brilliance of this story lies in the combination of making some things exactly the same as the books while radically changing other aspects. This is not a bland dark apocafic, but a very well-thought-out and detailed extrapolation of what could have been. What this author has done with the characters of James and Lily, Remus, and Peter is remarkably believable and logical, and the way a Harry who never went to the Dursleys views a much more divided wizarding world is a blend of both new twists and familiarity. The portrayal of the Marauders' friendship, including flashbacks, is beautifully rendered and heartfelt, and is the best aspect of the story. While non-orphan!Harry's personality may be a little too bland for this troper's liking, the characterizations of the rest of the characters makes up for it.
    • Lost Lenore: Seconded. Admittedly, I find that Voldemort is a little underpowered (and perhaps slightly OOC?), but that doesn't really stop this fic from being great. Although it's set in the Trio Era, it really focuses on the bond between the Marauders. Since Rowling unfortunately employs Too Cool to Live on the Marauders in canon, their friendship here is quite bittersweet, as you see what might have been. But it's brilliant nonetheless. The third part is particularly good, and you might want to grab the tissues.
    • DragonRidingSorceress: Thirded. I also recommend the various other 'Unbroken Universe' fics Robin has written.
    • NamonakiRei: Fourthed. It's an amazing read, the characters are, for the most part, spot-on, and what divergences there are from the books are because the story was started before the end of the series. Note that Promises Defended is not finished on

The Pureblood Pretense by murkybluematter

  • Recommended by: Mana001
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Harriett Potter dreams of going to Hogwarts, but in an AU where the school only accepts purebloods, the only way to reach her goal is to switch places with her pureblood cousin—the only problem? Her cousin is a boy. Alanna the Lioness take on HP.
  • Notes: Has currently four sequels, The Serpentine Subterfuge (complete), The Ambiguous Artifice (complete) and The Futile Facade (complete), and The Malignant Masquerade (ongoing).
  • Comments: Do not be fooled by the Alanna the Lioness reference, this story is quite original in the depiction of all of its characters. Even though the story reflects a female Harry, we see quite a bit of divergence from Canon!Harry that allows it to have its own flair, which increases the enjoyment of this story exponentially. However, let it not be said that there are no attributes of the original character present. As you will see in the choices and decisions Harry makes, she is as true to her new character, as she is to the old one. The Pureblood society and the entire world building is taken on very seriously, and is quite nicely done. Characters have been stretched to fit into this new world (notably Draco, who is still a spoilt child, but with most of the malevolence gone). I personally greatly enjoy the deception Harry and her cousin Archie orchestrate, as well as the ingenious solutions they come up with in order to prevent the possibility of getting caught.
  • There is way too much in the entire story to cover in one comment, however, be prepared for a Tom Riddle who is not an obvious Dark Lord, a Snape who is not unreasonable (though, his character is still portrayed with proper justice) and a Harry who wishes to become a Potions Mistress (to James Potter's dismay). I do not want to spoil the book, but most of the things Harry does needs to be taken with a pinch of salt (not to say she's bad, however, her work schedule resembles canon Hermione's - something that is appropriately lampshaded many times by her friends). All in all, a highly entertaining story, I would recommend this to all Harry Potter fans; at least do not judge until after reading the first chapter.

The Real Memory by Enigmaticrose4

  • Recommended by: KittyKat848, Mazz
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Voldemort strikes and Harry falls. When he comes back to himself he isn't at Kings Cross with Dumbledore. Instead he's at the Dursleys, going to Stonewall High instead of Hogwarts. Why?
  • Comments: This is one of the weirdest stories I've ever read, in a good way! The suspense is definitely here and the author brings us to the same level as Harry in quite the same way that JK Rowling herself did. I love that I could feel Harry's confusion along with my own. Aside from the excitement and adventure there is a warmth and family atmosphere that truly makes this story feel genuine.

Remus Lupin, PI by Larry Huss

  • Recommended by: Raiglory
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Remus Lupin didn't graduate from Hogwarts to become an odd-jobs man. He always knew he would be fighting the good fight, he just didn't know on which side of the Law. In the end,he made his own side.

A Shattered Prophecy by Project Dark Overlord

  • Recommended by: feral
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A twist of Fate... an opened window... a cradle robbed... two frantic parents... a lost hope, along with a shattered Prophecy. Dark!Harry, Assassin!Harry.

Si-Vis-Pacem-Para-Bellum by Mister Cynical

  • Recommended by: Black Victor Cachat
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Trope page here
  • Synopsis: All they wanted was a normal school year and now they're willing to fight for it. An alternative take on the Trio's fourth year.
  • Comments: A highly entertaining story as Harry and his beloved friends work to become dangerous enough to survive what is to come, deal with the immense stress they are under, and despite all the paranoia and violence stay kind and keep it humorous without delving into Dark Humour.

Switch by corvidae9

  • Recommended by: capeclare, Mazz, Unclouded TJ, Eversor, Puidwen, Robinton, TheFlyingHamster
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A prank by Fred and George confuses the Sorting Hat in Harry's first year, resulting in horrible house mismatches. "The Sorting Hat has sorted thousands of students in the course of its life. If it makes a mistake or two, who's to say it's wrong? Certainly not Fred or George Weasley." Written for the [info]omniocular September challenge - The Harry Potter AU Extravaganza prompt.
  • Comments: A VERY interesting fic where despite neing humerous and cracky in it's brilliantway but is also an exellent and dramatic fic where everyone stay in character but manages to live up to their own house. This fic also has a very uniqe and interesting alasization on what houses mean and thier effects on the students lives and personalities. (may be a dead fic but has almost finished third year and is definitly worth a read.
    • Unclouded TJ: I've found it hilarious so far as it takes things both seriously enough but also distorts it enough to make everything perfectly in character as well. Also the Weasley Twins working together with Luna Lovegood of all people is worthy of their one word: Fear.
    • TheFlyingHamster: One thing this troper loves about this fic is that the characters who've been 'incorrectly' sorted grow into their houses. It really addresses the issue of 11 year old being put in houses for the next 7 years based on their 11 year old self's personality.

Torn by Neurotica

  • Recommended by: Thagomizer
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: An escape from Azkaban has called for drastic measures to be taken. Five-year-old Harry Potter is taken from his relatives' home and relocated with two of his parents' remaining friends.
  • Comments: An absolutely superb story with absolutely flawless characterization. Sirius escapes a few years early, prompting Dumbledore to relocate Harry with Remus. Fantastic plotting and pace, with writing that approaches a professional level. Mad-Eye, in particular, perfectly continues his streak from Canon of being hilarious and a badass at the same time- if you can make it though him going undercover as a polyjuiced Harry-a four-year-old Harry- without laughing, you are made of some very strong stuff.

Veracity by femalenomad

  • Recommended by: shingen012
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Severa (called Vera by her one and only friend, much to her annoyance) is having a rough Fifth Year. She's not getting any notice from her peers about her proficiency in the Dark Arts, and she's losing the only person she cares about to her own ambition. After an agreement with her rival, James Potter, they have decided to put their differences aside after a series of bizarre circumstances involving blackmail, break-ins, near-werewolf experiences, Unforgivables, and illegal potion making - to discover a plot to blackmail the Minister while trying come up with a plausible cover story for their partnership. With a life-debt in the mix, will these two find common ground? And who is using who?
  • Notes: Snape is a girl named "Severa" and even in school never buys into blood purity, thus avoids the original event that ended their friendship with Lily. James and his group are still bully her but through circumstances work their way past their longtime antagonistic relationship. These changes lead to significant changes to the course of all of their lives.
  • Comments:
    • shingen012: I have long found that a number of fanfics set during Lily, James, and Snape's school years have the tendency to "pick a side" in the sense that it will either portray Snape as a paragon of virtue who was cruelly tormented by the evil ruffian that is James Potter; or Snape is a devil-incel incarnate poisoning Lily's life until she is rescued by the dashing James and his merry band of heroic Marauders. This is perhaps this first fic I've seen that introduces nuance to the whole situation, by portraying James, Snape, and (most importantly) LILY as complicated people. It show each character with their flaws intact but also shows their redeeming qualities. Snape (or Vera) is shown as someone that could be reasonably thought to have been Lily's long time friend, but also someone that struggles with their darker impulses. James's bullying of Snape is shown as the cruelty that it was, however, his willingness to grow beyond that as well as his loyalty to people he considers friends is demonstrated in full force. And finally Lily is written so that she isn't defined by her relationship to either of them. One of my favorite Potter fics, easily my Favorite "Marauders' era" fic.

Untitled by ink-splotch

  • Recommended by: Komodo Classic, Kazeto, Robinton
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: What if, when Petunia Dursley found a little boy on her front doorstep, she took him in? Not into the cupboard under the stairs, not into a twisted childhood of tarnished worth and neglect—what if she took him in?
  • Notes: Also recommended on the Harry Potter Oneshots page.
  • Comments: A heartbreaking oneshot about what could have been, had Petunia looked at her nephew and seen a person, one worth raising like her own son.

The Well Groomed Mind by Lady_Khali

  • Recommended by: feral
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: On Halloween 1994, Harry learns his mind isn't his own. On Samhain morn, he vows to question everything. Armed with logic and an unlikely ally, Harry makes a last-ditch bid to reclaim his life. The goal: survive at all costs. Manipulative!Dumbledore, Sane!Voldemort.
  • Notes: Has a sequel, The Mind's Guardian (dead).

When in Doubt, Obliviate by Sarah1281

  • Recommended by: Fuzzy Boots, boonerunner, Mazz, Unclouded TJ, Fenro, feral, Dame-Amaryllis, Robinton, Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Gilderoy Lockhart is passing through when he runs into Sirius Black on the night of November 1st, 1981. Upon hearing that Harry Potter has been orphaned, he realizes his golden opportunity, Obliviates Sirius, and takes Harry Potter out of the country to raise him as his own. Eleven years later, Harry receives his admission letter and is accepted in Slytherin.
  • Notes: Written by the same author of as Oh God Not Again!, a well recommended fic on the Harry Potter Peggy Sue page.
  • Comments: The story takes the mickey out of every silly aspect of the Harry Potter universe, but does so in good humor. Imagine Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality with a Harry who still acts like a kid and lives in a non-crapsack world.
    • Ron is particularly hilarious: he treats it as a personal betrayal when Harry is sorted as a Slytherin. He finally manages to recover his equilibrium by deciding that Harry was simply sorted incorrectly and proceeds to plot a series of increasingly outrageous schemes to "redeem" his friend from the perils of being in the wrong house.

Yes, I am Harry's Brother by Ynyr

  • Recommended by: Looney Toons, Unclouded TJ, Seraviel, feral, Kogut
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: A few years after the events of Halloween 1981, the wraith of Voldemort finds 4 Privet Drive and Harry Potter — and is accidentally incarnated into a near-clone of Harry's 6-year-old body when the soul fragment in the child's scar rejoins with the Dark Lord's spirit. Using every bit of his cunning and experience, the re-youthened Voldemort then escapes and begins a long process that results in him returning to Privet Drive at age eight in the guise of Harry's half-brother, the result of an affair James Potter had with an American woman — with the goal of studying Harry to learn what the prophecied "Power he knows not" might be. Along the way, Voldemort kills many, many people — and gives Harry a much happier life. Then comes Hogwarts...
  • Comments: Intriguing fic with some interesting ideas that defy fanon and fan convention without violating canon, and well-written as well, told entirely from Voldemort's point of view. We learn that there's far more to him than just the homicidal maniac that the canon Harry sees once a year, and maybe — just maybe — he's Becoming the Mask from playing Harry's half-brother even as the death toll among canon characters at his hands keeps escalating. The author is very subtle about it though — "Vito Potter" sometimes feels like he's just a few weeks from a Heel–Face Turn, and then he'll turn around and a professor will be dead for getting too close to his secret; the reader is never sure which part of his personality is the "real" one. He seems strangely protective of Harry and even some of their friends, while at the same time plotting their eventual destruction when he comes back into power. Complete, and definitely worth a look if you want something different among your Harry Potter fanfics.
    • The story has its ups and downs, especially towards the start, but steadily declines as it unfolds. It's an interesting read, especially if you don't mind rampant character bashing, but it doesn't really stand out from all the other OC/Super!Harry (even if it's not actually Harry in this case) by the end.
    • An incredibly dark story where The Bad Guy Wins and most of the heroes either die or are irredeemably corrupted. Also contains a good deal of squick in the form of multiple cases of pedophilia and some rather gruesome murders along with genocide. Do not recommend.
    • Looney Toons: I will agree, the ending is somewhat anticlimactic.
    • I liked the ending. It was a bit anticlimactic...until I read it again, tied together the bits about the Stone, and realized that Voldemort had won completely and utterly.
    • The early bits and Voldemort's pairing with a certain much older somebody seem unrealistic....until you realize that Voldemort is taking full advantage of 50+years of social and magical experience and preparation. Voldemort is never redeemed, he loses much of his power and has to work to regain it, and isn't quite invincible, what with having to be far more manipulative than powerful. To summarize, it's Troll!Voldemort going on a rampage all while pretending to be super innocent. Vernon and Dudley meet a deserving end.
    • Therefore, not worth reading.
    • Easily among the best fanfics to date, especially how it makes subtle jabs and jokes of favorite fanfic tropes while being and enjoyable read throughout.
    • The most interesting thing about this fic is Voldemort's cynical, calculating narrative voice which gives a very different perspective on Hogwarts and the characters from the books. The story varies in tone from moderately to extremely dark, and the latter moments generally involve canon characters meeting terrible fates, so beware of that. The structure is somewhat weak; most of the plot takes place in the first two years at Hogwarts, whereas I was hoping for more of a slow burn. It's also totally straightforward, with Voldemort facing no real setbacks and experiencing minimal character development in the course of his mission, which is why the ending feels so anticlimactic. The combination of Voldemort's perspective and your own expectations about redemption in storytelling may make you tempted to root for Voldemort, but if you do then you will be in for a series of gut-punches culminating in the biggest gut-punch of all in the final chapter. The story is very true to Voldemort's character in the sense that he ultimately views everyone and everything but himself as a disposable tool, but it can be perilously easy to forget that at times. As a last note, Harry's dialogue makes him sound immature to the point of having an Ambiguous Disorder, even at 12 years old. This could very well be a result of Voldemort's grooming, but I found it very distracting. Ultimately, despite my complaints, I found it to be an absorbing read. If you can tolerate some painful moments, I tentatively recommend it.

Hermoine Granger's Hogwarts Crammer for Delinquents on the Run

  • Recommended By: EmperorMax2019, Phoenix-21
  • Status: Complete
  • Pairings: Ron/Hermoine, Draco/Harry
  • Synopsis: 'You're a wizard, Harry' is easier to hear from a half-giant when you're eleven, rather than from some kids on a tube platform when you're seventeen and late for work.
  • Comments: An intriguing fic with a very interesting premise: what would happen if for some reason, Harry never recieved his Hogwarts letter, and his first introduction to the magical world is six rebellious Hogwarts dropouts hoping to find him before the Death Eaters do. The author puts a lot of focus on the character dynamics and emotional arcs, as well as examining how different things would be if Harry had never gone to Hogwarts. The story is also full of delightful references to 90's pop culture, on account of both the time period, and the fact that the characters spend more time in non-magical areas as a consequence of the plot. The main focus of the narrative is the heroes' emotional arcs and Character Development, and the author does not wish to rehash the Horcrux hunt, so the story stops before Voldemort can be defeated, and the specifics of how he and the death eaters are thwarted are left to the reader's imagination.

Weasley Girl by Hyaroo

  • Recommended by: Chaosjunction, Flairina, Eyikl, Phoenix-21
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Just what would Harry's life at Hogwarts be like if his best friend wasn't Ron Weasley, but Veronica "Ronnie" Weasley?
  • Notes: Has a sequel, Weasley Girl: Secrets of the Past, which is also complete.
  • Comments:
    • Chaosjunction: Fem!Harry fanfics are extremely common, but Fem!Ron fanfics are far rarer. Plus, this fic makes some interesting changes to the Harry Potter universe.
    • Flairina: The premise may not sound terribly interesting at first, but things spiral out in a believable, quite interesting way that seems very Original Flavor. The shipping fixation that plagues so many of these gender flip fics is notably absent, and the plot is all the better for it.

Weasley Girl:Secrets Of the Past by Hyaroo

  • Recommended by: Eyikl
  • Status: Complete
  • Synopsis: Potter's Gang are back for their second year at Hogwarts, and face a dramatic escape, a mysterious diary, a strange cat, a "loony" girl, a hidden monster and many past secrets coming to light. It looks like this year will be at least as eventful and dangerous as the previous one.

Ongoing fics

Updated regularly or semi-regularly.

     Ongoing fics 
The Black Sheep Dog Series by izzythehutt
  • Recommended by: The Cyan Star, Adept
  • Status:
  • Synopsis: Regulus Black survives his adventure in the cave and brings the locket to an unlikely ally: his estranged older brother. The ex-Death Eater strikes a bargain with Dumbledore, cooperation in exchange for his family’s safety. Sirius Black is faced with his toughest mission yet: managing Walburga and Orion Black—who, to his surprise and dismay, decide they rather enjoy having both of their sons back, and very quickly scheme to make this temporary family reunion permanent. AU of the First Wizarding War in which stealing part of Voldemort's soul brings a broken, dysfunctional family together.
  • Tags: Regulus lives AU

DodgingPrisonAndStealingWitches by LeadVonE

  • Recommended by: sfu
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Synopsis: Harry Potter has been banged up for ten years in the hellhole brig of Azkaban for a crime he didn't commit, and his traitorous brother, the not-really-boy-who-lived, has royally messed things up. After meeting Fate and Death, Harry is given a second chance to squash Voldemort, dodge a thousand years in prison, and snatch everything his hated brother holds dear.
  • Comments: A story with a lot of worldbuilding, hidden information and interesting original characters. It is using canon elements while also going extremely into alternate universe territory.

Harry Potter And The Mysterious Curse Of The Girl Who Lived by Lord Jeram

  • Recommended by: Unclouded TJ, Mazz, Chaosjunction
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Synopsis: Harry is the Boy-Who-Lived. So why does everyone think he's Harriet, the Girl-Who-Lived? Wizards are nutters…A Mysterious Curse makes everyone but seemingly the Dursleys see Harry as Harriet and can't hear otherwise, much to Harry's annoyance.

Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin by The Sinister Man

  • Recommended by: Dame-Amaryllis,bgottfried91
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Synopsis: What if Harry were a Slytherin? What if everyone thought his twin brother was the BWL? What if someone tried to do something creative and innovative with the two most overused cliches in HP fanfic?

Lily And The Art Of Being Sisyphus by The Carnivorous Muffin

  • Recommended by: feral, Unclouded TJ, Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Synopsis: In which Lily Potter is not quite a normal little girl. Her uncle Death seems to be convinced she's the grim reaper. And her ever political and invisible best friend Wizard Lenin just thinks she should take over the world. On top of all that the secret society of wizards think she's Jesus. Fem!Harry.
  • Notes: Also recommended on the Harry Potter Humor/Crack page.
    • Has a lot of one shot side stories, not all of which fit in its own canon.

Seasons of Change by MPRose

  • Recommended by: Mari Skep
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Synopsis: An attempt to go against a popular trope. What if, instead of becoming dark/grey and gaining more power that way, Harry had been a little more considerate? Begins with a small change in first year, and sticks close to the original, but sometimes small changes can add up to change the world. Trope page here.
  • Shipping: Ron / Hermione, Remus Lupin / Nymphadora Tonks.
  • Comments: While the writing and premise are why I recommend this fic, it's the way MPRose uses subtlety that made it a must finish for me. The characters never need to scream or shout to communicate what they're feeling and it makes the scenes feel much more real. What isn't said is as important as the dialog itself. Very much in the light hearted spirit of the first book and relies on similar humor so if either of those things is a turn off for you then you're not going to like this fic. But I do think MPRose managed something that's unique as far as HP fanfiction goes and that it's worth reading.

There is Nothing to Fear by Callmesalticidae

  • Recommended by: Yla
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Synopsis: What if Tom Riddle had been sorted into Gryffindor instead? A series of vignettes across decades that paint a picture of a British First Wizarding War with the battle lines drawn very differently, and familiar characters in unfamiliar situations.

A Different Professor by AsphodelWolf15

  • Recommended by: Naru Hina Fan
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Synopsis: "Her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever." Ginny has been taken to the Chamber of Secrets and Harry may know where that is. How would things have turned out if he had gone to a Different Professor?

On The Way To Greatness by mira mirth

  • Recommended by: Fiddlesoup, Unclouded TJ, Mthe R, Sheaman 3773, Fenro, Folly Molly, feral, Dame-Amaryllis, Baron Praxis
  • Status: On-going
  • Synopsis: As per the Hat's decision, Harry gets Sorted into Slytherin upon his arrival in Hogwarts — and suddenly, the future isn't what it used to be.
  • Comments:
    • Mthe R: I have some nitpicks with this one, in regards to grammar and characterization and theme. I'm not sure that I buy all the character reactions mira mirth puts forward—something rings particularly false about Ron's, and Harry occasionally seems smarter than a teenager has any right to be—and I haven't decided whether elements such as the retconned explanations for why GoF's plot was so complex are amusing, annoying, or necessary. On the whole, I'm hoping that Harry's something of an Unreliable Narrator. On the other hand, it's certainly the best Slytherin!Harry fic I've yet read, and definitely a good read for anyone who loves ridiculously convoluted political plots. Plus, sarcastic Harry is my favorite flavor of Harry, and this fic has plenty of that.
    • I found the retcon above to be quite good, actually. This sequence of events makes quite a lot of sense, including the explanation for the double-portkey.
    • Agreed with the above statement. I especially liked how the Magical Binding Contract, and some other rules of magic, were explained; it actually made some of the canon events more understandable. Also, while the characters' dark side seem to be exaggerated a lot, I think the portrayal of the characters stay true to canon.


Dormant or Dead fics

At least a year without an update, or killed by the author, at least two years without an update, or Author Existence Failure. by

     Dormant or Dead 
Another Prisoner Another Professor by Marauder
  • Recommended by: sauronlulz, Lost Lenore, Eversor, Eyikl
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: In Harry's third year he must learn the many truths about the new DADA teacher, Professor Black, and an escaped convict, Remus Lupin.
  • Comments: The first few chapters come off as "the third book with Sirius' and Remus' names switched," but the fic gradually takes on a life of its own as more small details diverge from canon and the author makes up her own subplots. All the canon characters are IC (but Ron gets added snark!), the invented dynamics between characters who didn't meet in canon (e.g. Sirius and Draco) are done brilliantly, and OC Brutus Swift is hilarious. Remus has not yet come onstage, but the hints of Sirius/Remus are handled well. Best of all, Harry and Sirius' relationship gets the time and growth it didn't get in the books, making it Better Than Canon. Updated very slowly, but luckily not a deadfic.

Mortis Magister by That Posh Wanker

Another Beginning by MaiKanon

  • Recommended by: feral
  • Status: Dead; last updated February 2015
  • Synopsis: Voldemort was faster in regaining his body than he had been in canon, and thus, he had begun to go after Harry while the boy-who-lived was still a small kid. Will a rather sane Voldemort find out, and use, the similarities there are between him and Harry to his favour, and change the wizarding world in a way no one had expected?

An Aunt's Love by Emma Lipardi

  • Recommended by: Week Old Pizza
  • Status: Dormant; last updated September 2018
  • Sypnosis: Harry comes home from school and Petunia is upset at the change in her nephew. Petunia decides to do what she should have been doing all along. Dumbledore had better stay away. Petunia Dursley is upset.
  • Comments: It's a fantastic fanfic that shows a different side to Petunia's character. It's interesting, original and shows that Lily's sister actually has a heart. It's over 60 chapters long; however, it hasn't been updated for a while. Still worth reading.
    • Superpowered harry is quite annoying, Voldemort seems to be extremely out of character, as are quite a few other characters. Mass of OC can be tiresome, but it works decently within the premise. The writing itself is pretty decent ignoring the previously mentioned problems, so it can be worth reading.

Blessed of the Ancients series by inwardtransience

  • Recommended by: Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Dead (last updated November 2017)
  • Synopsis: Concerning Fae relations at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Fem!Gay!Grey!Harry.
    • The Long Game: Britain has been at peace for nearly a century — protected from the devastation of Grindelwald's war, free of conflict of their own. Charissa Potter, raised surrounded by family and friends more numerous than she can count, never really expected this to change. But hidden forces, it seems, have been playing a long game. (Indefinite Hiatus)
    • War of the Open Realm
  • Notes: Alternate link.

Broken Lives by Chandagnac

  • Recommended by: capeclare, Mazz, Eversor
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: Remus Lupin finds out from Mrs. Figg that Harry has been mistreated by the Dursleys. On his way to confront Dumbledore over this, he bumps into Severus Snape and they join forces (it's an Enemy Mine situation) to confront the Headmaster and try to persuade him that Harry can have a happy childhood and still stay alive.

A Butterfly Effect by SlyGoddess

  • Recommended by: Wasted In Jackson, Ephemeral Night, jennifersbody, johnhancookie, Folly Molly, Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Dead; last updated February 2013
  • Synopsis: A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and a tornado brews in Texas. A simple choice: Today or Tomorrow? Conceived a day earlier, the Boy Who Lived was never born. He wasn't even a glimmer in his parents' eyes. But she was; Harriet Lily Potter... Harry; the girl that grew up in a cupboard; the girl with safety-pinned knickers; the girl that was never wanted by the only family she had left; the girl that would give anything for the slightest bit of love. What happens when the shoes of a hero are filled by the feet of a heroine? How does the world change? How do relationships change? How important can one person possibly be?
  • Pairing: Fem!Harry/Ginny
  • Comments: - Easily the best fem!Harry I've ever read. Also, in terms of exploring canon without contradicting it, A Butterfly Effect is one of the most well-reasoned fanfics in existence.
    • Contains both femslash AND het.
      • Which, as we all know, is blasphemous beyond belief, but is also extremely refreshing. A heartfelt seconding of this recommendation here.
    • Thirded. A Butterfly Effect is brilliantly plotted, brilliantly written, and possibly the most emotionally real Harry Potter fic this troper has ever read, and is especially notable for depicting a main character that is both convincingly-female and convincingly-Harry, while avoiding the gratuitous sexism that is so often prevalent in fem!Harry fics.
    • Harry's got a bunch of fandom cliches (including absurd abuse and absurd power levels) for no readily apparent reason. Relationships are just totally out of character for the age group. I'm talking hints of porn (including an orgasm) while everyone involved is in first year.
      • Harry has no psychological trauma at all, despite absolutely HORRIBLE things happening to her, despite claims that the relationship will progress realistically it... doesn't. The people involved are far too young for it to be even remotely romantic, and it's rather disturbing if you think about the context. The story is unrealistic, and many things are beyond explanation. It's definitely not worth a recommendation. Yet. The author, despite all these flaws, is a good writer. The stylism is good, as is the spelling and grammar. It's just that there are severe problems with the story and all the characters, and as the troper above me stated, there's a myriad of flaws that take a story with the potential for excellence and turn it into precious little more than power fantasies and softcore porn. Involving eleven year olds. I'm not trying to be rude (Well, okay, I'm being a bit rude), but the author really does have potential - it's just not met here at all. I'm disappointed. Especially since I have yet to find a good Fem!Harry (Femslash nice but not requisite) fanfic that doesn't fall into these traps/is gratuitously sexist.
      • The above troper is TRULY disillusioned. A Butterfly Effect fleshes out the Potterverse with extraordinary skill and creates an overarching plot that is both gripping and endearing. The changes in the Potterverse characters are all direct results of Harriet's existence... which I believe is part of the point of 'a butterfly effect.' Also, Harriet, while seemingly perfect on the outside, has a plethora of psychological flaws that stem from her needy personality and trauma from abuse. To say she is a Mary Sue is utterly ridiculous. The dark themes are scarring for all the characters and you can tell from the way they're developing. Furthermore, the sexual themes prevalent in the first 6 of 23 chapters (first year) are tastefully conveyed and that sexuality hasn't stretched belief since the second the characters turned 13. They are now 14. And honestly, if you don't want to read stories with mature themes, then don't pick up anything with an 'M'/borderline 'NC-17' rating. It's somewhat odd to criticize a 'Mature' story for being mature.
      • This particular troper doesn't think a character can be called a Mary Sue when said character has fatal flaws out the wazoo. Also, it helps that Harriet doesn't read like a Sue either; she's rather like a blend of the entire trio with a bucketful of teenage angst thrown in to mix things up. And because she reads like a real person, one constantly empathizes with her when tragedy and setbacks befall her.
    • Whether it's worth my initial recommendation... well, you should check the 800+ reviews, 90% of which are glowing and come from articulate, intelligent readers.
    • The fic as a whole does a marvelous job of creating logical and interesting background stories for some of this troper's favorite HP characters including, but not limited to: Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Albus Dumbledore, and Gellert Grindelwald. The author takes the tiniest of vague details, such as Dumbledore's slew of apparently-meaningless titles, and creates massive plotlines that weave seamlessly into the existing Potterverse. Also, another great feature of this story is its inclusion of multiple narrative perspectives, which was a very smart writing choice on the author's part. As we frequently see Harriet's world from the eyes of secondary and sometimes even tertiary characters, we as readers aren't restricted to the viewpoints of an OC whose femininity takes several chapters to get used to. And so, in summary, I heartily second (fourth?) this recommendation.
    • Folly Molly: Seconded so hard. This fic strikes a bracing dynamic between mushy drama and fierce, brutal action. One minute the characters are sharing a tender moment, and the next, someone is being violently tortured. I couldn't say if this is a byproduct of the author's inexperience or mastery, but it certainly seems to be intentional. The fic is a wide-ranging collection of emotional ups and downs that switch about so suddenly, the reader is left feeling dizzy and breathless. While some may not like that sort of story progression, I personally enjoyed the ride.
    • It's an interesting story. Not this troper's all-time favorite, but I know quite a few people who swear by it.
    • Way, way overly grimdark. Many of the changes made to the plot have absolutely no relation to Harry being a girl, and it seems like the author just tossed them in there to be 3edgy5u. The author literally states that the rape was added just to establish what an evil guy Voldemort/Quirrell is, which is both entirely unnecessary and a mark of poor writing. In addition, the characters are incredibly oversexualized for the 11 year olds they're supposed to be. The premise is interesting, but frankly the story needs a complete rewrite to be worth reading.

The Darkness Series by Athey

  • Recommended by: Rabid Cookie, Naomi Hansen, feral, Baron Praxis
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: 4th yr. Through an accident Harry and Voldemort's Horcrux begin to interact and Harry slowly begins to change. He becomes stronger & slowly grows aware of the sinister events that have perpetuated his entire life.
  • Pairing: Harry/Voldemort
  • Comments: This is probably the best "Harry turns dark" story I've ever come across. the entire premise is that Harry finds the horcrux in his mind and decided to let it out, due to his friends abandoning him right after his name comes out of the Goblet of Fire. The horcrux doesn't turn him evil right away, it just makes Harry a bit more wary and a bit more morally ambiguous. The author does throw in a lot of rather stereotypical plot devices but she plays them well enough that you won't care.

DID You Hear The Rabbit Cry? by demon lilith

  • Recommended by: feral
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: It seems that Harry has Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). To him, this is nothing new. He's known of his alters for as long as he can remember. Magic, however, is a different story entirely. When he finds himself sorted into Slytherin, he finds that the choices he must make are more important than he ever imagined.
  • Comments:
    • Mallfacee: A good fic but a bit confusing and hard to follow. There are roughtly 15 different personalities to follow and it's difficult to figure out which alter is doing what. Shattered by Lillielle takes the same concept but presents it in a way that's easier to follow.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by The Carnivorous Muffin

  • Recommended by: feral, Coffeemocha
  • Status: Dead; last updated November 2014
  • Synopsis: Having spent over fifty years as a notebook the fragment of soul who still refers to himself as Tom Riddle regains influence of the mortal plane and finds reality to be an ephemeral thing while Harry Potter, a young boy of eight, discovers that things both are and are not what they seem.

Dreams and Darkness Collide by Epic Solemnity

  • Recommended by: feral
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: Inspired by Dexter. JK Rowling's once said: "That if Merope had lived and raised Voldemort, he would have turned out to be much different, probably a better person." But just how much different? And how much different would Harry be if he was given a life with a loving family and a life without the expectation of saving the world? How different would he be if his hero-complex was still intact, but so consuming, so twistedly dark, that he had to go through desperate means to hide it?
  • Pairing: Harry/Tom

Emperor by Marquis Black

  • Recommended by: Milarqui
  • Status: Dead (last updated July 2017)
  • Synopsis: Some men live their whole lives at peace and are content. Others are born with an unquenchable fire and change the world forever. Inspired by the rise of Napoleon, Augustus, Nobunaga, and T'sao T'sao.
  • Comments: This story is highly recommendable. While at the start it seems to be the typical fanfic in which Harry's parents survive, things change really fast, starting from the moment they decide to leave England for the continent - which they mention is constantly at the edge of a new war - to avoid being used by Dumbledore as propaganda weapons. It turns out that there is a point of divergence in real history, with the failure at the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the forefather of the European Union, and this has changed many things, including the lack of reasons why the European nations should collaborate with each other. The whole story is told - mostly - from Harry's point of view after he swears to do everything in his power to protect his family.
    • The war scenes in which Harry manages to use his full power as a magician to destroy the enemy forces in Spain (which was democratized after Franco was killed, but a few years later an Ultranationalist party got voted in) are quite impressive, especially for the level of destruction and cunning Harry is able for. However, this ends up in a slight failure when the Masquerade is revealed to the world, and everyone has to deal with the consequences of this, including a civil war in England and the death of most of the Royal Family. In the end, it turns out that there is a second, far more important, point of divergence in history: the Trinity Project, the development of the first nuclear weapons, failed completely, thus forcing the Allies to launch Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan, with the expected high number of casualties.

Escape to Darkness by kmfrank

  • Recommended by: feral
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: After Voldemort's resurrection, Harry awakens to a cold stone floor. After years of toiling with a "reformed" dark wizard willing to aid his revenge, Harry escapes from Nurmengard and finds that the Wizarding world has changed...

Eschew Obfuscation by buddyblack

  • Recommended by: ranichi17
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: Harry dies during his battle with Voldemort in the Triwizard Tournament and wakes up reincarnated as a 4-year-old.

The First Step is Fatal by Qilin

  • Recommended by: TheForgottenOne, wijackson, Mazz
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: Harry enters Hogwarts under strange circumstances where he is sorted into Slytherin. Not what he expected when he fell down the stairs and died at home on Dudley's eleventh birthday. Possession would have been Harry's last guess at a second chance.
  • Comments:
    • I'll give this one a tentative seconding. It's an interesting premise, but the writing needs work.
      • Apparently going under grammatical revision as of October 4th, 2011. New chapter due to be release after completion.

Forging The Sword by Myst Shadow

  • Recommended by: Shadow AI, Unclouded TJ, Sheaman 3773, feral, Kogut, Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Dead; last updated August 2014
  • Synopsis: What does it take, to reshape a child? And if reshaped, what then is formed? Down in the Chamber, a choice is made. (Harry's Gryffindor traits were always so much scarier than other peoples.')

Growing Up Black by Elvendork Nigellus

  • Recommended by: Newt, Eversor, feral
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: What if Harry had been rescued from the Dursleys at age six and raised as the heir of the Noble and Most Ancient, etc.?
  • Comments: Harry is taken away from the Dursley's by his squib aunt and uncle from the Black side of his family tree. He is then raised by the extended Black family, who are unaware that he is the Boy-Who-Lived. An entertaining read. Not a Slytherin Harry story.

Harry Potter & the Halfblood Auror by chelseyb1010

  • Recommended by: capeclare
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: In his quest to stop Malfoy in his sixth year, Harry turns to an old friend for help. Along the way he finds new allies, a Horcrux, and someone to stand by his side.
  • Comments: This is not a typical fic. The changes start in Harry's first year when he accidentally gets acquainted with Tonks then meets her again in his third year and fourth year before she has even joined the Order. Both Harry and Tonks are in character and their friendship is enjoyable to read as their relationship develops.

Harry Potter and the Magic Unleashed by Sooner90

  • Recommended by: Mazz
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: On Halloween night of 1981, Harry was rescued from the ruins of the cottage in Godric's Hollow by the Potter family elf. He is subsequently raised by said elf and a portrait. Hilarity and drama ensue.

Harry Potter and the Path of Indifference by Born of Prayers

  • Recommended by: Leid
  • Status: Dead (last updated November 2015)
  • Synopsis: A fic where Peter Pettigrew died as a hero, Harry Potter is brother of the Boy-Who-Lived and his parents are still be alive, but he starts out feeling neglected in his brother's shadow. Meeting with an American witch early on taught him to look at the world from a different point of view and started his journey through Ravenclaw. Twin!Harry, WBWL.
  • Comments: Starts out kind of angsty and stereotypical until after the first few chapters. Then it gets fleshed out and goes off the rails a bit. One of the changes include Snape being a legitimate traitor against the Death Eaters.

Harry Potter and the Unlocked Knowledge by kmfrank

  • Recommended by: feral, Baron Praxis
  • Status: Dead; last updated February 2013
  • Synopsis: When Harry returns home to Privet Drive after the fiasco at the Department of Mysteries, he finds that Voldemort's possession released the Horcrux inside of him. In addition to the companionship of "Tom", Harry has his knowledge, and must learn to use it.

Harry Potter: Junior Inquisitor by sprinter1988

  • Recommended by: Lustheron, feral
  • Status: Dead ( last updated August 2016)
  • Synopsis: Before the start of fifth year, Dumbledore changes the plans. Unfortunately, he didn't bother to inform Harry. At his trial, Harry realises that it is down to him to save his own skin. To do so, his Slytherin side must come out to play, and once it's out, it sticks around. Now Dumbledore and the Ministry alike must watch their backs…
  • Comment: Fair warning, recent chapters have seen the story go from 'Harry getting his act together' into rather dark and strange territory. This includes Dumbledore drugging Harry and then all but seven students in Hogwarts to turn them into his slaves, McGonagall and Flitwick happily agreeing to this, Alastor Moody hunting students down, the entire student body being stunned by the Order (who have apparently taken over the school) and Sirius happily helping Dumbledore use the Marauder Map because 'Harry isn't using it to hook up with girls'. While still a good fic, the sudden twist (with no forshadowing) and utter OOC of the entire cast may leave a bad taste in your mouth. May be best to avoid this one until the author gets his/her act together.
  • Comment: While the story does have a very interesting premise, is very well written and a promising start, it quicky unravels into a Hate Fic with arguably the most evil Manipulative!Dark!Dumbledore ever written, to the point that Voldemort becomes irrelevant for a good chunk of the story, eclipsed by increasingly evil deeds that seriously pushes the Willing Suspension of Disbelief past the breaking point.

Heir by Na'hiel

Her Mother's Love by inwardtransience

  • Recommended by: Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Dorment
  • Synopsis: Albus still didn't fully understand what magic young Lily had wrought that night. At the time, he'd only been grateful her noble sacrifice had earned them peace, however temporary. He should have looked into it deeper. He should have done something. Unknowingly, long dead, that arrogant girl might just have ruined everything. (Fem!Creature!Slytherin!Harry)
  • Notes: Alternate link.

In Bad Faith by Slayer Anderson

  • Recommended by throwaawy, Kogut, Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: I never pretended to know what I was doing in my last life. Why should I pretend to know anything about this one? Well, the other option is a horrific and bloody death, so...I better start learning how to be a witch. Self-Insert.

Last Chance by Laume

  • Recommended by: Charsi
  • Status: Dead; last updated June 2016
  • Synopsis: Dumbledore is a good pedagogue and gives little Tom the help he needs.
  • Comments: A really heartwarming story.

Magical Relations by evansentranced

  • Recommended by: Anthiens, Lavanya Six, Tyranno Storm, Dexterfans1s2s7
  • Status: Dead (last updated March 2016)
  • Synopsis: Harry didn't just get a letter — Dudley does, too. Quite a bit of unexpected character developments, including a Hermione/Dudley friendship, Draco still being his bratty self yet being portrayed as human and Harry being in Slytherin. Extremely well done and up to fourth year.
  • Comments:
    • Anthiens: This story focuses largely on the relationships and the changes both Harry and Dudley go through. A number of people get very different interpretations... including Vernon. I don't read HP fanfic often, but this is tops.
    • ShayGuy: I kinda liked this one's character interactions and ideas, but thought it fell short in the realm of actual conflict. The bit when they realize that the basilisk is still on the loose, but without a master is about as good as it gets, and that didn't even last very long.
    • Tyranno Storm: Dudley's joining Hogwarts affects very little. The story is from Harry's point of view, and the main difference is Harry joining Slytherin and befriending most everyone in it. As ShayGuy says, this story has little conflict. Personally, I found the lack of suspense a welcome change.

Mary Potter by LeighaGreene

Mirror Image snakes and lions unite

  • Recommended by: Mazz, feral
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: His whole life, Tom Foster has had reoccurring dreams about a boy nearly identical to him, Tom Riddle. But when he discovers that they are really memories, he must make a difficult choice - to remain a reflection or to find his own destiny.

A Necessary Gift by Cosette_Aimee

  • Recommended by: Leid, feral
  • Status: Dead (last updated February 2016)
  • Synopsis: The war drags on after Voldemort's defeat and the Order of the Phoenix are fighting a losing battle. When Harry is hit by yet another killing curse, he wakes up years in the past and in an alternate universe. As an unknown child in an unfamiliar world, Harry has a chance to change the outcome of the war - while dealing with new magical talents, pureblood politics and Black family drama.

One World by Stellar Magic

  • Recommended by: Omeganian
  • Status: Dead; last updated March 2015
  • Synopsis: Sirius and Hagrid weren't the first in Godric's Hollow. Hermione's dad was.

Paging Dr Bell by zArkaham

  • Recommended by: templar627, Unclouded TJ
  • Status: Dead; last updated August 2014
  • Synopsis: The 15 year anniversary of Voldemort's defeat is near so Luna is writing the behind the scenes look at what the 'power He knew not' was all about. She turns to Dr. Bell, famous psychologist, for her unique view of the B-W-L.
  • Pairings: Harry/Multi
  • Comments: This fanfic provides an interesting view into the wizarding world and answers a lot of questions about what Dumbledore did. It hinges on the idea that Harry meets and befriends Katie Bell and because of that things change. Also there is les yay in relation to how the magicals grow up and how that affects them as puberty happens.
    • Unclouded TJ: Due to the nature of this story you might disagree strongly over the whole magical puberty deal as preteens will have risky encounters. However, it's very well done story, despite the apparently generic Manipulative!Dumbledore that shows up, and I'd definitely recommend giving it a try. Also, a majority of the story takes place in the appearance of flashbacks so don't expect a chronological depiction of events.

The Perils of Innocence by avidbeader

  • Recommended by: Kizuna Tallis, Robinton
  • Status: Dead. Last updated September 2017, but the author's still active.
  • Synopsis: In 1986, the Dursleys, unable to deal with Harry's bursts of random magic, drop him off at a psychiatric ward for children. The doctors spend time studying and trying to understand Harry's abilities, and their work attracts the attention of the Grangers and the Thomases. Then the Wizarding World enters the picture...
  • Notes: Alternate link.
  • Comments: An interesting AU fanfic that manages to also have a few elements of deconstruction as well, yet also keeps the characters very much in-character with their responses to the different circumstances that occur around them.

Prince Of The Dark Kingdom by Mizuni-sama

  • Recommended by: Eccitaze, Elenor, Unclouded TJ, I Have A Head Ache, AnUnConcernedCitizen, FractiousDay, Rasdra
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: A What If? story where Harry's parents fled with him to Germany. Voldemort winds up winning the war, and establishes a dictatorship, but instead of killing all the "mudbloods," he simply segregates the wizarding world even further from the muggle world.
  • Comments: A VERY interesting fic where Voldemort mentors Harry, with an interesting take on what happened to the characters (specifically, the ones who were on the losing side) and an incredible re-imagining of a lot of the characters, the Weasleys especially.
    • Elenor could tell you that it has eveything from culture examinations to political intigue, but that makes it sound like something we've all seen before a hundred times. It's not, its really not. As for how you'll end up feeling about everyone, I think this quote sums it up nicely, "Tonks sighed, and ran a hand through her leopard print hair. She missed the days when you could support your allies with the same enthusiasm you could oppose your enemies."
    • Nornagest: This is a frustrating read. It's readable, in fact fairly good, but very obviously inadequately edited; a few more revisions with an effective beta would bring it up to "excellent", but they're unfortunately lacking. A few out-of-place animesque elements don't help.
    • Inadequately edited or not, it has to be said that once one gets into the story it is very easy to simply overlook most of the spelling and grammar mistakes and only a few manage to really shake the reader out of the story. In any case, this should not stop people from reading the story, because nearly everything else about it is rather brilliant and absolutely worth the read. Mizuni-sama has managed to write a fanfiction that draws the reader in and makes him unable to stop reading in the same way that the real HP books do. As was said, Prince of the Dark Kingdom, despite its faults, is definitely worth the time one needs to read it.
    • AnUnConcernedCitizen: While there are some spelling and grammar issues that can be a little off-putting to a reader, once you really get a few chapters into this fanfic you don't even care anymore. It's that good. The way the author presents the alternate universe is believable, the characters stay consistent with their development and personalities throughout the story, and the Harry/Voldemort relationship is done so well that you actually understand why Harry can stand being around him. With the amount of garbage fanfics I start reading and then quit reading within 3 chapters, finding this diamond was awesome. If you want an intelligent read, this is what you're looking for.
    • FractiousDay: Incredibly complicated fic, the author had literally completely redesigned the Harry Potter universe. Definitely worth reading, however, a few complaints. Firstly there's this pervasive kinda weird 'pagan' vibe running through it that is somewhat off putting. Also, make sure you read it continuously, otherwise you begin to forget things, you'll pick it up again and find yourself not understanding what's going on.
    • calamondin: That's not even a complaint, Pagan!Harry simply is not found often at all, so OBVIOUSLY it would be "slighty-off putting" to encounter it, no matter how much bloody animal sacrifice were present! I for one thought it was a deliciously fresh interpretation of the folklore of the U.K., let alone canon's simplistic perversion of it all...

Rectifier by Niger Aquila

  • Recommended by: foxintime, Unclouded TJ, Robinton, The Mighty One
  • Status: Dead; last updated January 2013
  • Synopsis: What if during the first Chamber incident, Professor Dumbledore had caught Tom Riddle red-handed? Actually, life would have been amazing for both Tom and Albus (friendship). Until that is when one night, Professor Tom M. Riddle decided to check out if Alternate Universes do exist. Takes place around Half-Blood Prince in the canon universe. WIP.
  • Comments: I like how author chose not to bleach Voldemort, but give him a reason not to go down canon path of another Dark Lord. He is a bad boy here, both of them are. Friendship with Dumbledore is made of win.

Reign of the Serpent by AlphaEph19

  • Recommended by: Roo
  • Status: Dormant; last updated June 2018
  • Synopsis: In a world where the confrontation between Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin went differently, a seemingly-immortal Salazar rules wizarding Britain according to the principles of blood purity, wizards split into a rigid caste system with the Serpent caste on top and the Mudblood caste at the bottom. Muggle-borns are taken from their families at an early age and raised to become cannon fodder for the war on the Dark creatures. But a few select "Mudbloods" who excel with exceptional talent or intelligence might gain the privilege of being raised to the Badger caste, and be allowed to attend Hogwarts... and Hermione Granger, recently taken from her family, is determined to attend Hogwarts and to shake up wizard society in any way she can.
  • Comments: Massive AU, in which the Hogwarts House system is replaced by an all-encompassing caste system. Most of the familiar characters are present, if in unfamiliar roles — in this universe, Dumbledore is a feared outlaw and the Order of the Phoenix are revolutionaries who want to overturn the caste system, while the role of Headmaster of Hogwarts has gone to Tom Riddle, here a decorated war hero with a shady past. The main focus is on the children, though; Hermione is the main protagonist, along with her fellow Mudbloods Dean Thomas and Justin Finch-Fletchley, but Harry (in this universe a fairly normal, if hotblooded, young wizard who was raised by his parents) also has a central role, as do Ron, Neville and even Draco Malfoy.

Slave Child by Kristen Hudson

  • Recommended by: mad4t
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: At the end of their fifth year, Draco duels Harry as revenge for landing his father in Azkaban. Draco hits Harry with a previously unknown curse, that forces him to be the slave of the first person to touch him afterward: Severus Snape. Harry and Snape are now stuck with each other and have to overcome their differences while Dumbledore tries to find a way to break the curse.
  • Comments: It's a beautifully written, sad story. The author does a decent job with developing the relationships over time instead of making Snape "nice" right off the bat (although it still may seem to happen to quickly for some). Deals with some very hard topics, though, such as slavery, abuse, and suicide.

Sorceress of the North by inwardtransience

  • Recommended by: Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Dead; last updated November 2017
  • Synopsis: Concerning the early life of the Grand Sorceress Melantha Black, also known as the Sorceress of the North. (Male-to-Female, Fifth Year AU)
    • To Reach Without: He hadn't wanted to be Harry Potter anymore. Things would be simpler, he would be happier. He had been almost positive he would be happier if he were quite literally anybody else. At the moment, he couldn't think of a better demonstration of the warning "be careful what you wish for". (Indefinite Hiatus)
    • The Nine
    • Empty Spaces
  • Notes: Alternate link.

The Spellmaker by SonnyGietzel

  • Recommended by: feral
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: Latin; a dead language with no practical applications except perhaps the deciphering of old texts and as a particularly quaint party trick. Thankfully, as Harry finds out, Latin is not as dead as he was first taught when he decided to learn the language. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, of course; he loved Latin, and would have been proud to know it even had it been as useless as it was pretty. But in the world of Wizards, the world of Magic, Harry realizes his rare talent with words is particularly valuable in the highly complicated and controversial subject of Spell Creation, a subject he soon becomes enamored with despite having to hide his interest from everyone. Besides, it's not like he's going Dark, after all. Smart!Harry, Dark!Harry.

They Shook Hands by Dethryl

  • Recommended by: LeoArchon, Jay Llenrup, SteakAddictsAnonymous, atrasicarius, Baron Praxis
  • Status: Dead (last updated October 2017)
  • Synopsis: Suppose Draco Malfoy introduced himself before he started acting like an ass. What if he had asked Harry's name before insulting Hagrid? A friendly handshake in Madam Malkin's leads to an alternate but realistic universe which is eerily like the canon, featuring a cast of first year Slytherins as you've never seen them: normal children. Join Harry Potter and his new friends as they discover their magical talents and help him to explore the world that has been kept from him these past ten years.
  • Notes: This a complete rewrite of canon, book for book. It dies near the end of year six.
  • Comments:
    • LeoArchon: I am astonished that this one has not made the list yet. I think it fits For Want of a Nail pretty well in terms of fanfiction. And this author makes Slytherin!Harry work. I was astonished when I first started reading this series, but I came to love it. It's an alternate interpretation of all of Harry's years at Hogwarts, and how they've been altered by being in Slytherin. Ron the Death Eater is not quite in full effect, though he despises Harry just because they're in different Houses. The author has changed a lot from the canon plot, and the changes fit the new Harry. As the Slytherin House Rules say, 'Slytherin does NOT mean Junior Death Eater'. The first four years are complete, and the fifth is in the works. It will not be published on OR Fiction Alley, the two main sites Dethryl uses, until it is complete. Though, in all honesty, this troper believes Dethryl could hardly do worse than the original Book 5.
    • SteakAddictsAnonymous: This is the one fic I read which sounds like you are actually reading Harry Potter. I am talking as a person who disdains pretty much all Harry Potter fanfiction for the reason of not being canon, being too much of a wish-fulfillment, being something Harry wouldn't do, for simply not sounding like JKR, and pretty much everything and anything. (I wind up reading almost everything tongue in cheek.). The author does an excellent job of taking the text and making it JKR's style. It changes from the canon plot, but in such a way that could have happened it is almost like an alternate Harry Potter. (A Real Alternate Harry Potter. Like if JKR wrote the story differently and sold it, not like a fanfiction that has an alternate outcome.) This is a true For Want of A Nail Fic, and I highly recommend it to everybody. I particularly like the way the Slytherins are expressed, as the author said "as children".
      • And here, is the counterargument by Maki P: The story is very good, there's no denying that, the characterization is excellent and it does a good job showing Slytherins as people; the problem is Harry. I'm afraid Slytherin made him an unpleasant person, he's arrogant, buys into the whole "blood purity" thing and he declared himself the Heir of Slytherin!; also Dethryl seems to be an anti-Gryffindor bias. Oh and Hermione being killed by the basilisk after she's been bullied by Harry's little friends is enough for me to despise the story
      • 'Buys into blood purity'? You clearly haven't read the whole series yet. Harry will readily remind ANYONE that he himself is a half-blood, going so much as to quote one of the rules of Slytherin house: 'Blood matters. Ability matters more.' And since when is having an anti-Gryffindor bias a bad thing? It's a refreshing change from all the fics that depict Gryffindors as heroes who can do no wrong. As for the whole thing about Hermione, look at things from Harry's perspective: she's an insufferable, know-it-all bookworm who thought it was proper to gawk and make statements about his fame without asking. If she's your favorite character, then I apologize. But no one said you had to read it.
      • I have to agree with Maki P here. The story is written well, but the author's anti-Gryffindor bias, Harry's far less than stellar attitude and a few other things definitely make it subjective. For example, Hermione getting sent to Hufflepuff because Millicent Bulstrode bribed the Sorting Hat, Harry allowing and enjoying Crabbe and Goyle beating up Ron and his friends, the treatment of Percy, the whole switching Houses deal, etc.
      • Keep in mind, Ron has been nothing if not an utter slimeball to Harry in this series. Besides, Harry does stand up for Neville at one point in first year, and tells off the other first year Slytherins for picking on pure-bloods outside of Slytherin. Except Ron, because Ron's gone out of his way to antagonize them. As for Hermione, well, wouldn't you be a LITTLE upset if someone starting pointing and gawking about you, rambling off interesting yet irrelevent facts about you like you were an exhibit at a zoo rather than a person? That's how Harry felt, and bribing the Hat to sort her into Hufflepuff was his idea of payback. And, again, what's wrong with anti-Gryffindor? Rowling's anti-Slytherin, so turnabout is fair play. But, as you say, it's all dependent on your preferences.
      • True, Ron has been less than nice to Harry, and that smacks of Ron the Death Eater, (where do people get this idea that Ron would go out of his way to antagonize Slytherins from?), but then again Harry has acted much, much worse to Ron, so he has no reason to talk. As for Hermione, yes she was a little rude there, but far from unbearably so, and certainly not deserving that kind of revenge. that fact that the Sorting Hat could be bribed at all doesn't come off well. Well, in any case, it is a balanced portrayal of Slytherins, since aren't stereotypical monsters, but far from nice people, so Dethryl deserves a clap for that at least.
      • The statement that Harry has bought into the blood purity and racism of Slytherin is incorrect and shows that Maki P has not read the whole series. Harry's problem is with Muggles, not Muggleborns. Slytherin fed into his hatred of the Dursleys, and from his limited worldview, Slytherin is right about Muggles (violent, barbaric, etc.). In fact, by Y4 Harry doesn't care about blood at all, only magicalness. He gets into a confrontation with Theo and brings up the fact that the Muggleborn Hermione Granger beat Theo in every subject in first year to try and crack Theo's attitude about blood purity.
      • Harry explicitly believes in the improtance of Blood Purity in this story. He puts it second only to ability. That means it's more important to him than morals and overall attitude. If you like the story, just say so. But don't pretend the story's lead isn't exactly what he's being accused of being.
      • Maki P again. No, I haven't read the whole thing, and that's part of the problem; the "heroes" seem too detestable for me, and I found the extreme anti-Gryffindor attitude hard to swallow. I think this has to be said, so readers know what they were getting into. (I wasn't, and I think I got hurt for that.)
      • Silverwind 91: It's not just the extreme anti-Gryffindor attitude that is hard to swallow. I will freely admit that i did not get very far into it myself, but that was because it's as Slytherin-can-do-no-wrong as much as other fics are Gryffindor-can-do-no-wrong. There are token 'evil' house members to be better than, but for the most part it feels like the story was written by slightly less morally bankrupt Tom Riddle.
    • I myself didn't like the writing style, I find it stilted, there's no flow to the characters speech, at least in what I've read. I don't think the writing even remotely resembles JKR, though the plot is decent.

Weres Harry? by DobbyElfLord

  • Recommended by: feral, Robinton
  • Status: Dead; last updated August 2014
  • Synopsis: Dark curses don't play nice- not even with each other. When nine-year-old Harry is bitten by a werewolf, the horcrux fights back. The result could only happen to Harry Potter.

What Would Slytherin Harry Do? by Big D on a Diet

  • Recommended by: feral, Unclouded TJ, Robinton, Dame-Amaryllis
  • Status: Dead
  • Synopsis: A series of short-stories exploring how Slytherin!Harry would have handled key moments from the books.

When Harry Missed the Trick Step

  • Recommended By: dmcreif
  • Status: Dormant
  • Synopsis: "When Harry went to see what Barty Crouch was doing in Snape's office in his 4th year, he managed to just miss the trick step of the staircase on his way to the dungeons – what's going to happen now? Read on to find out!"
  • Comments: This fic explores what would've changed if Harry had missed the trick step and thus, Barty Crouch Jr. was caught and exposed midway through the Goblet of Fire.